Training nutrition – The most important part of your muscle building strategy.
Nutrition is the most important part of building a great physique. In fact, nutrition is the cornerstone of any successful sporting endeavour. Without the appropriate nutrition, you will be training in vain, period.
For most people, they take nutrition as it comes and it takes a back seat. This is a mistake. It is hard work planning what and when to eat, but if you add up all the wasted hours of pumping iron in the gym and getting no results then you may start to realize that spending some time planning and preparing your meals is a worthy trade off.
Here are some of the important points you to get you started:
1) In order to build mass you have to be in calorie surplus.
Your body needs to be in positive energy balance. Another words you need to eat more than you burn each day. For example, take an average man weighing 70kg with around 15% body fat. He hits the gym 2-3 times per week. His daily energy expenditure is around 2500kcal. In order to build mass successfully he would need to eat around 3000kcals/day. That equals 5-6 meals a day, and around 500-600kcals per meal.
The importance of splitting your meals up is essentially to control your body’s insulin release. This is key in order to ensure that all the food that is eaten, is used to fuel your daily activities and also stored as muscle glycogen; but not stored as excess body fat. So don’t be tempted to eat 2-3 large meals instead to make up your daily requirement or you’re also very likely to put on body fat.
2) Eat complex carbs and lean proteins with every meal.
Avoid refined white carbs and go for only wholegrain goodness. An easy way to tell if the food you eat is good or bad is to ask yourself whether it came out of the ground/tree the way it is. The further away from its natural state, the more processed the food is. Processed food is your body’s No.1 enemy. You can’t build quality muscle with processed foods as they will just turned straight into simple sugars in your body and converted to body fat.
Eat complex carbs to stock your muscles with glycogen and fuel your intense workouts, together with lean protein for muscle growth and repair, in every meal.
3) Eat fresh fruits and green veggies.
In order to get the required vitamins and minerals for muscle building and other vital muscle functions. Without adequate vitamins and minerals your muscles would not work at their maximum capacity hampering your progress.
As our bodies are unable to make vitamins, they must be supplied in our diet. Many form the essential parts of enzymes systems that are involved in energy production and exercise performance. Others are involved in the functioning of the immune system, the hormonal system and the nervous system. Fruits are rich sources of a variety of vitamins.
Veggies will keep your body in an alkaline state, which fights the acidic effect of catabolism caused by training, preserving your muscle tissue. It will also increase your body’s tolerance to the lactic burn during intense training.
4) Eat 2 hours before your training session.
Weigh training is mainly anaerobic unlike cardio training which is mostly aerobic. Your muscles gets its fuel directly from the glycogen (carbohydrate) stored locally in each muscle that you are working on, to fuel your workout. In order to maintain maximum intensity during training, eat ideally 2 hours before training to ensure that your muscles are topped up with glycogen, adequately fuelling your entire explosive workout whilst minimizing muscle fatigue.
5) Stay Hydrated.
During 1 hour’s exercise an average person could expect to lose around 1 litre of fluid. Approximately 1kg decrease in body weight represents a loss of around 1 liter of fluid. A loss of just 2% in your weight will affect your ability to exercise, and your maximal aerobic capacity will fall by 10-20% impairing your performance. This strains your body’s systems as blood volume decreases and body temperature rises, it places extra strain on your heart, lungs and circulatory system, which means the heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body.
You can ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking around ½ liter of water prior to exercise and continue to sip during exercise.
6) Post workout meal.
This is the 2nd most, if not the most important meal of your day. A small window of opportunity exists straight after your training where your body is extra sensitive to nutrient uptake. Immediately after training supplement with around 40-50g of whey protein and 1-1.5g /kg body weight of simple carbs (i.e., maltose, maltodextrin are good sources). This is vital to induce an insulin spike which is needed to reverse the catabolic effects of cortisol release after training, preventing muscle breakdown and putting your body back into its anabolic state by promoting protein synthesis and glycogen uptake into your muscles. Miss this meal and you are cutting yourself short!
Within 1-2 hours after your post workout meal, eat lean protein and carbs to further replenish your glycogen stores, boost recovery time and ensure that your muscles are optimally primed for your next workout.
7) Protein requirements.
How much protein do you need? The general rule of thumb is to go for 1.5-2g of protein per kg of body weight. Get this ideally from a wide variety of complete protein animal sources such as lean meats, fish and plant sources such as quinoa. Besides your post workout meal, only supplement with whey protein if you find yourself short on your daily required intake from food.
Unlike carbohydrates, protein cannot be stored by your body. It is used for building and repairing muscles where needed and any excess are excreted. To ensure that there is adequate protein always available to your muscles, consume lean complete proteins in your diet every 3 hours. This will ensure that you remain in positive nitrogen balance, optimizing muscle fiber growth and repair.
8) EFAs – Essential fatty acids (Omega 3).
Vital to almost every body function that you can think of as they have a myriad of benefits. They keep your heart healthy, can help prevent diabetes, anti-inflammatory, keeps joints & connective tissue healthy, help to reduce bodyfat, facilitates gains in muscle mass, increases energy, reduces fatigue, immune system function, proper nerve function, healthy skin, and thats just to name a few..
Found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and also plant sources such as flaxseeds. This should be a staple in our diet! This has to be one of the most important nutrient in our diet, so listen up! Ignore this vital ingredient and you won’t be doing yourself any favours!
As it is so important, I’ve recommended on which to buy below. It is best to get a variety, so take a combination of ground/milled flaxseeds (2-4 teaspoons/day) AND omega 3 fish oils (2 high strength soft caps/day).
Linuseed Organic milled flaxseeds – Waitrose. Other popular health food shops may also stock it.
Super Omega 3 (soft caps fish oil) – www.myprotein.co.uk
Supplementation is not required on the days that you eat oily fish.
9) Additional supplements.
The only supplements that I would endorse and all that you will ever need are:
– Whey protein
Take one serving (5g) of Creatine each day for maintenance.
Take both creatine and whey protein post workout.
Its best to cycle your creatine intake (i.e., take for 2-3 mths and off for 1 mth). Thats all you need folks so don’t buy in to all the fancy scientifically proven BS that you hear in the glossy mags. It will all become clear as I’ve explained it in the next section!
Well there you have it! In order to make this happen, you need to seriously get planning as this would seem like a chore at first but is vital to build muscle successfully, and will soon become part of your daily routine.
SUPPLEMENTS – Are they really worth it?
Do supplements really work? Are they really what they are hyped up to be?
Being in an instant gratification era that we live in, we all want to believe in that one magic pill that would solve all our problems. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing before we are sold by the power of marketing and its placebo effect.
The fact is, the supplement industry is long on marketing hype and short on science. The huge industry especially the fat loss side of it is big business. In the US, it reached an all time high of $13 billion in sales in the year 2000. Over a 1000 different manufacturers producing over 20,000 products, consumed by over 100 million people! With this amount at stake, fat-cat supplement and weight loss companies will tell you just about anything to get you to buy their products. The industry is loosely regulated which allows them to get away with murder.
Most people get their information about supplements from magazines because magazines are generally considered one of the most credible sources for information. But that’s not always the case – you can’t believe everything you read. Most bodybuilding and fitness magazine publishers own supplement companies and they use their magazines to promote their products. By putting information about “new supplement breakthroughs” into editorial format, they appear much more believable. That makes magazines the perfect tools for selling supplements and weight loss products. As a result, many magazines have turned into nothing more than thinly disguised “supplement catalogs” with the single purpose of brainwashing masses of easily-influenced consumers.
The “magazine/supplement company” business plan is nothing new. Certain well known publications have been doing it for decades. One day, it dawned on the rest of the publishers that more money could be made selling supplements than selling advertising or subscriptions. Soon, almost everyone had jumped on the bandwagon. This is just as true for online magazines as it is for paper and ink magazines.
Even if a magazine doesn’t have a vested interest in a particular line of supplements, you still can’t count on them to reveal the whole truth to you because publishers don’t want to offend the deep-pocketed companies that are spending big money to advertise. Publishing is a tough business. Magazine owners depend on advertising revenue to keep themselves afloat.
A full-page ad in a high circulation national magazine can cost tens of thousands of pounds. With this kind of money at stake, do you think any magazine will print an article about how supplements don’t work and run an ad on the next page for the same supplements they are criticizing? Not likely! And do you think they’ll turn down advertising revenue just because the effectiveness of the product being advertised is questionable? Also not likely – scarce few human beings have that much integrity.
Our bodies are built to process foods, not powdered or liquid supplements alone. Eating natural unprocessed foods instead of supplements alone can multiply your results exponentially! Protein supplements and meal replacement products are good for convenience and insurance. They do just that, supplement and are not meant to replace food entirely. They are good when you’re strapped for time, to top up your daily requirement, and after your workouts, when some benefits can be had for the quick absorbing qualities of liquid food.
Next time when you’re confronted with the inevitable tempting claims of a new miracle breakthrough product, you’re in a better position to make an informed decision.
Stay Healthy & Strong,
Steven Wong – CPT, Pn1
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